Meant-to-Be Baby(10)

By: Lois Richer

“Having met the two ladies, I’m guessing that won’t be easy.” Ben tried and failed to smother his amusement. Suddenly he sat up straight. “Was that Mikey calling? Since we, er, found his parents’ bodies, he’s had nightmares and—”

“Being afraid is probably normal for all little kids sometimes. But I have a monitor in Mikey’s room, Ben.” She pulled it out of her pocket. “Listen.” She held it up. All that transmitted was the sound of smooth, even breathing. “He’s fine, but I can go check on him if that will make you feel better.”

“Do you mind?” He glanced at his foot. “I’d do it but that spiral staircase is daunting.”

“I take it you’re happy with your main-floor room down the hall, then?” She chuckled at his forceful nod and rose. “Back in a jiffy.”

Snugging her ancient and tattered velvet robe around her waist, Victoria scooted up the stairs. Mikey was fast asleep just like her aunts who were snoring. There were no sounds from the room Olivia shared with Adele so Victoria padded down the stairs in her fluffy slippers and reentered the salon.

“Everything’s good, Ben.” She scanned his tense face. “But I don’t think you are.”

“It’s my leg. I need to elevate it. I’d better get to bed.” He rose slowly, using his crutch. “Thanks for checking on Mikey and the cocoa and the talk, Victoria. I’ll pray about The Haven’s future though I’m not sure it will do much good. I’m pretty new at the whole praying thing.”

“New Christian or old, doesn’t make a difference to God. ‘The Lord has set apart the redeemed for Himself. Therefore He will listen to me and answer when I call upon Him,’” she quoted. “That’s what David said in the fourth chapter of Psalms.”

“That’s a verse I need to memorize,” he murmured thoughtfully. “So often I feel like God doesn’t hear me, especially when I see the heartache and devastation in my job. To know that God always listens—that’s comforting.” He stared directly into her eyes. “I’m impressed that you can quote the Bible so easily.”

“Part and parcel of living with Tillie and Margaret.” Victoria smiled. “The Bible is an intricate part of their lives and, by association, those around them.” And you’ve failed to live up to their and your own Biblical principles. A chill ran up her spine. Soon she’d be telling him all of it—“Good night, Ben.”

“Good night.” He continued to study her for several moments. Then he awkwardly wheeled around and thumped across the oak floor, toward his room down the hall.

Victoria waited until she heard his door close before resuming her seat in the armchair, her brain whirling with questions.

How was she going to help the aunts stay at The Haven?

How was she going to raise a baby on her own, with no visible means of support? How was she going to stand seeing the disappointed looks on her aunts’ faces when she told them? She’d already caused them so much heartache when she first came here. Maybe they wouldn’t even want her anymore.

Just how much could their love endure?

Her fingers splayed over her midsection.

God, are You mad at me?

She’d just assured Ben that God always listened, but deep inside her heart, Victoria felt a void, an emptiness she’d never known before. She knew why that was. She’d disregarded the principles she’d been raised on. Maybe God was now leaving it up to her to handle having and raising this baby alone. She was no weakling, but being strong enough for that scared Victoria to her core.

* * *

The next morning, Ben savored the delicious breakfast Adele had prepared.

“Olivia and I have to get back to work,” she’d explained as she shrugged into her coat. “Since Jake plowed out the road last night to take you into the doctor this morning, we’ll get an early start. Olivia has to catch a flight to Ottawa. She works there for the military. I live in Edmonton and I have a catering job scheduled for tomorrow so I have to go, too.”

“Have a good trip,” he said with a smile.

“Thanks. Vic’s still sleeping. I left a note telling her we’ll text later.”

“I hope we see you and Mikey again, Ben,” Olivia added.

“Me, too,” he said, and meant it.

After hugging their aunts and promising to return soon, the two left. Then Jake appeared and said he’d be driving Ben to town. Conscious of his lack of mobility and wearied by the physical strain of getting in and out of the doctor’s office, Ben was glad to return to The Haven.

Also By Lois Richer

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